Vancouver’s THE VANRAYS Drop Electrifying Garage and Soul EP “Hey! Alright Now”

Photo Credits: Carleen Kyle
Photo Credits: Carleen Kyle

The Vanrays have just served up their latest offering Hey! Alright Now with an accompanying video for the EP’s focus track “Ghost.” The band carries on with their tradition of belting out undeniably catchy Motown and Soul tunes with big hooks, big melodies and an even bigger brass section. Taking notes from classics and contemporaries like Spencer Davis group, Detroit Cobras, Curtis Harding and the Daptone Records roster, The Vanrays have delivered a dynamic release full of soulful classic R&B and garage music.

Their bio reads like a manifesto for their brand of music: It’s a Motown beat down in a sharkskin suit. It's wailing like it’s gospel while they're laying in the boots. It's a curb stomping rhythm on the corner of control. It's a nod in the direction, when all shoes had leather souls. And to when those shoes were twisting, to Otis and to James. And so now do, The Vanrays too, we are here to do the same.

The new music video for their haunting single "Ghosts” holds a special place in the band's heart, marking a pivotal moment in their musical journey, and serving as the cornerstone for the direction of their newest EP. The music video beautifully encapsulates the emotive depth of the song. Through poignant imagery and compelling storytelling, it explores themes of love, redemption, and the haunting echoes of past mistakes. As the lyrics poetically express, "Love is a ghost - that's been haunting me, love is a ghost - that only my lover can see. The number captures the essence of introspection and longing, resonating with listeners through its evocative lyrics and captivating melody. Lead vocalist Spencer McKinnon brought forth the soul-stirring composition during a transformative basement session, setting the tone for the band's artistic evolution. Despite undergoing several arrangements, the essence of the original rendition remained intact. As the band explains, "'Ghosts' embodies the essence of our collective journey as a band. It's a reflection of the highs and lows we've experienced, wrapped in a haunting melody that lingers in the soul." With its ethereal soundscapes and heartfelt lyricism, "Ghosts" invites listeners on a transcendent musical voyage, urging them to embrace the beauty of love and the power of redemption. As the band passionately declares, "If you want to see ghosts - you got to believe - in love."

Produced by the talented Scott Fletcher, known for his work on their previous full-length album, their new EP promises to be a rollercoaster ride through the soulful sounds of the '70s, with a contemporary twist that's sure to captivate audiences. Fletcher comments, "Making this EP with the fabulous Vanrays was easily as much fun as making their previous full length! It’s the perfect soundtrack for Tarantino’s lost epic 70s cop movie! I think we really captured the intensity of this amazing soul group and their ability to present a modern twist on the genre. I hope everyone loves it as much as I do." Andrew Samuel, rhythm guitarist and vocalist, adds, "These songs are some of my favorite Vanrays tracks to play and features some all-time fan favorites in our live set." Bassist Phil Addington expresses his excitement for the EP release show, stating, "Putting a set together based around these songs has been a lot of fun. It's going to be a great release show!" Drummer and Vocalist Eric Lowe shares his enthusiasm, highlighting the effort put into capturing the vibe of classic their favorite soul recordings. "Scott and the band put a lot of effort into recreating the big energy and sound of classic Stax and Motown recordings. I really love how this EP turned out."

With soulful vocals, deep grooves, punchy horns and memorable melodies The Vanrays take Motown from East Van to a stage near you. Formed in 2016 around a collective love of soul and R&B classics, the Vanrays are a group of Vancouver music scene veterans who’ve played in such bands as Swank, Polly, The Beladeans, Circus in Flames and 64 Funnycars. Their unique brand of “East Van Garage Soul'' keeps dance floors packed thanks to catchy songwriting and energetic performances. Since releasing their debut four-song EP in 2019 the band has kept at it - writing, recording and playing shows around southern British Columbia to sweaty dance floors and exuberant crowds. Vocalist Spencer McKinnon sums up what one can expect from a Vanrays release, “Who do the Vanrays sound like? Well, they sound like the Vanrays. We have our own distinctive take on the garage soul genre and have crafted an album that both nods to the past but is uniquely our own style. East Van Soul!” More shows, tours, and videos are in the works to support their latest EP. Hey! Alright Now is set to drop on June 5th, promising a soulful journey that's not to be missed. Stay tuned for more updates from The Vanrays.